St. John’s Athletics Expands Partnership with New York City FC

St. John’s Athletics Expands Partnership with New York City FC
February 24, 2022

St. John's Athletics and reigning MLS Cup Champion New York City FC announced Thursday an expanded partnership coinciding with the launch of the MLS NEXT Pro season.
Beginning in 2022, NYCFC II will play its home matches at Belson Stadium, home of the Red Storm men's and women's soccer programs. In addition to hosting professional soccer in Queens, the University will collaborate with New York City FC on marketing and advertising initiatives, internship and academic curriculum opportunities, and exclusive experiences for the University community.
St. John's University has served as the home for NYCFC's Academy since the 2016 season. Belson Stadium, which opened in 2002, seats over 2,000 fans. The NYCFC First Team previously competed at Belson Stadium during the 2019 U.S. Open Cup when the Boys in Blue won 4-0 against North Carolina FC.

"It has been an absolute pleasure to partner with New York City FC and their tremendous players, coaches and staff over the years," said St. John's Director of Athletics Mike Cragg. "This is a very exciting opportunity to advance our partnership with a championship-level franchise and support the launch of NYCFC II. In turn, St. John's students will be afforded unique opportunities to gain experience with a professional sports organization in New York City coupled with new marketing resources available to our University."

"St. John's University has been a phenomenal partner for the Club for a number of years, serving as the home of our Academy since 2016 and hosting our First Team on various occasions," said David Lee, NYCFC's Sporting Director. "St. John's and Belson Stadium will be an equally great home for our MLS NEXT Pro team as more of our young players develop their abilities with NYCFC II.
"NYCFC has proven that we can develop local talent that can play at the top level of global soccer. This direct pipeline to the First Team will play a key factor in the Club's continued success in developing talent and we cannot wait for the start of the inaugural MLS NEXT Pro season in March."
The 2022 schedule features 24 matches, all against Eastern Conference opposition. St. John's will host its first NYCFC II match on Sunday, March 27 against the New England Revolution II.
St. John's students, faculty and staff can buy discounted $5 tickets at the box office on match days.
"We're thrilled to extend our current successful partnership with St. John's University to include not just our Academy players, but also the newly formed NYCFC II," added Brad Sims, NYCFC CEO. "I'd like to thank everyone at St. John's and its Athletic Department for helping make this partnership possible.

"We look forward to continuing to build this newly formed team over the coming years. We know this will be a very competitive league with a high level of soccer and we hope fans will come along to support the team and see for themselves the next generation of NYCFC talent. It will be a real benefit to our team if we can create a match-day atmosphere int eh stadium as we have enjoyed for previous games at Belson Stadium – starting with March 26 which is an exciting and historic day for the Club."

NYCFC were crowned champions of MLS in 2021 after defeating the Portland Timbers in the title match.
St. John's men's soccer has a long and storied history of sending players to MLS, the highest level of professional soccer in the United States. Daniel Bedoya, who played two years at St. John's and led the team in assists during the NCAA Tournament season of 2013, recently spent part of two seasons with NYCFC. Tim Parker, Bedoya's teammate at St. John's, is entering his eighth MLS season in 2022 as part of the Houston Dynamo. In total, 13 St. John's products have suited up in the regular season for MLS clubs, not including the three Johnnies who were just taken in 2022 MLS SuperDraft. Lucas Bartlett was taken sixth overall by FC Dallas, Tani Oluwaseyi was picked 17th by Minnesota United FC and Luka Gavran was drafted 31st by Toronto FC.
On the women's side, St. John's has also sent numerous players to the professional ranks around the world, none more famous than Rachel Daly. After being selected sixth overall in the 2016 NWSL Draft, the two-time All-American quickly developed into one of NWSL's most lethal goal scorers. In 2021, she ranked third in the league with nine goals after claiming the scoring title during the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup. The English international has made 45 senior caps with the Lionesses, scoring seven goals over the stretch. 
To learn more about NYCFC II and MLS NEXT Pro, visit and